Modern projectors, from 8K to palm-sized, can fool you into thinking they are a recent invention. But they have been around for more than a century. It has taken years of consistent reinvention to get to the small and compact projectors we all like.
Still, old projectors are worth a look. They have unique shapes that are incomparable to current projector designs. It’s no wonder they have become a darling for collectors of antique cinema items.
Many online retailers have taken to selling vintage projectors from the Chinese Magic Lantern to Edison’s Kinetoscope at varying prices. Some still function, but you can’t expect them to produce images that are anywhere close to those from modern projectors in terms of quality.
If you’re a collector, inherited some vintage projectors from your grandparents, or are just an interested party, read on as we take a look at what old projectors are really worth.
How much are old projectors worth?
There is no standard price for old projectors. It varies depending on the era they were invented, their functionality, and their rarity. Some sell for a few bucks while others sell for thousands of dollars. The price keeps going up and down.
The business of reselling antiques has been lucrative for years for items such as classic cars, jewelry, rare coins, and even stamps. And vintage projectors are no exception. The fact that early projectors can last for years without deterioration makes them a favorite for collectors.
Factors that influence the price of old movie projectors
As we’ve already mentioned, the price of old movie projectors varies based on certain factors. Let’s have a look at what they are below.
The era they were invented
As with anything else that antique collectors keep, the price increases based on age. As years pass by, vintage projectors disappear due to various reasons resulting in a decrease in supply on the market.
That scarcity then causes demand to rise which in turn causes the selling price to increase.
The adage that says old is gold holds in this case.
Old projectors that have been well-maintained sell for far more than those that are in poor condition. It makes no sense for a buyer to spend so much on a damaged projector that would later need lots of repairs to restore it to its original state.
So, sellers are normally ready and willing to discount the cost of repairs from the selling price to make their buyers happy and satisfied.
The brand of an old projector plays a big part in determining the selling price. Buyers have a preference for brands they trust like Kodak, Siemens, and Argus. The bigger or more well-known a brand is, the more it will sell for.
No collector wants to have a lesser-known projector brand in their arsenal. There are so many on the market and that negatively affects the selling price.
Another factor that affects a vintage projector’s price is the film size. The most common are 8, 16, and 35 millimeters. Again, this comes down to personal preference. Some like a given film size more than others while others choose their projectors based on what they can handle. For instance, an 8 mm projector can handle both slides and film.
Online Marketplaces for Old Projectors
There aren’t many online marketplaces where you buy or sell old projectors. In this section, we will take a look at the most popular ones.
eBay is a reputable website for selling second-hand items. It allows anyone to sell or buy a vintage projector. The beauty of eBay is that there’s a large pool of buyers and sellers, so you can easily tell the right price for an item by skimming through the listings.
Etsy is also popular and has many sellers and buyers of old projectors. You can pawn off your old projector and even buy one for your collection.
The eye-catching feature of eBay is its old interface which hasn’t been updated in years. But if you look past design, it is a great place to buy or sell old projectors.
If you don’t do your research properly, dishonest sellers may convince you to buy an old projector for significantly more than it’s worth. It helps to spend time reading through listings on the online marketplaces we’ve discussed above to gauge what a specific brand and model is really worth.
There’s no one price-fits-all when it comes to old projectors. Their selling price keeps changing based on the brand, age, film size, and functionality. You can get some for less than $30 while others will set you back thousands of dollars.